Ever since our last lesson, Gavin and I have been diligently working on our homework. Just a refresher, the homework included:
- Get him infront of the leg with less squeezing and more structured leg, then leg + tap, then leg + stronger tap
- Lengthenings at all three gaits
- Stretchy trot
- Five strides sitting trot, five strides posting trot, five strides two point
- Keep my stirrups up for two rides, then back down to "normal" for two rides
- Work on getting heels way, way down and close hip angle
So.... how did it to go?
Well... it's been hard. I mean, the lengthenings are tough work for Gav. See above sweaty mess pic. I really need to clip him, and I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I bought a new blade and when I went to install it I completely messed the whole thing up and now I can't figure out how to put the whole thing (including the blade) back together. (SOMEONE HELP!!!!)
Side note: This may be overkill, but I spoke with my vet about giving Gav an 8 day round of Ulcerguard due to the increased workload. We gave it to him early fall when he was behaving a bit ulcery (excessive salivation when eating, acting mildly colic-y with increased frequency, general malaise) and since then he's been on a daily U-Guard pellet supplement. This has definitely helped his tummy and attitude, but I worry with the increased work his stomach might act up. Anyways - might do that.
If I break it down, here's how things are going:
- Getting him in front of my leg, especially at the walk, remains an issue. He certainly seems to be getting the point, but 5 years of me riding him and not asking for this is pretty engrained in his pony brain. I can't blame him, and will continue being patient on this one.
- Lengthenings at all three gaits - massive cardio workout, Gav seems to really thrive at the canter lengthening. Unless I workon it the whole ride we tend to lose contact at the trot lengthenings. My thoughts are to ask for less until he's solid at a more medium lengthening. Any ideas?
- Stretchy trot - NAILED IT. Gav loves this exercise. He tends to get a bit strung out behind in these, but with the increased drive for forward this doesn't seem to be an issue. It feels powerful, but loose.
- Two point - still ouch. I think I'm getting some muscle memory for it though. The last couple of rides I was like "oohhhh - I think this is what it's supposed to feel like".
- Did stirrups up until my last ride. I definitely got used to it, and then when I put them back down to normal I felt so much more solid in my seat. I expected the opposite to happen, but it was almost like my legs wanted to stretch down into the stirrup and it helped my seat a lot!
- Getting my heels down and closing hip angle. The stirrups up seemed to help with this and it became much easier every ride. The hip angle seems like a muscle memory thing, and again, became much easier with every ride.
Ultimately, I've been enjoying the change of pace (ha! Literally), and I think Gav is too. My next lesson is this coming Monday, so we'll see what homework I get next! :)
And for no other reason than cuteness, here's a video of how Gav acts when he's getting his happy stomach pellets (U-gard). He clearly REALLY wants it, but he hides his head. It's like he's trying so hard to be a good boy. God he's cute.